Theodas the Sorcerer demonstrates the ultimate power of women

Pocket Bard’s notes: This story is a bit silly, but I still like the punchline. I don’t understand why the king wouldn’t have set up an entire court in the cave for his son, instead of waiting until the boy was 10 years old to start teaching him language, but maybe that’s because I’m not a king. I’m not cut out to understand things like this.


Theodas the Sorcerer demonstrates the ultimate power of women
The Golden Legend, Volume II, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.364-365

[St. Josaphat, son of King Avennir of India, has converted to Christianity, much to the consternation of his father.]

A sorcerer named Theodas heard what had been going on, and went to the king and promised him that he would make his son return to the laws of his father. Avennir: “If you succeed in this, I will have a gold statue raised to you, and I will offer sacrifice as to the gods!” Theodas: “Remove all his men from around him, and order charming, lavishly dressed women to be with him all the time, waiting on him and pampering him and never leaving him alone; and I will send one of my spirits to him to set the fire of lust aflame in him, because nothing can so surely seduce young men as the faces of women. There was a king,” Theodas went on, “who had a newborn son, and learned physicians told him that if within ten years the child saw either the sun or the moon, he would lose his eyesight. The king therefore had a cave cut out of solid rock and had his son kept there for ten years. When that time had passed, the king ordered all kinds of things to be set before the boy, so that he might know their names and all about them. Therefore gold and silver, precious stones, gorgeous garments, royal steeds, and all sorts of things were shown to him, and when he asked the name of each object, the servants indicated the proper word. When the boy asked what was the word for women, the king’s swordbearer, as a jest, said they were demons who seduced men. When the king asked his son what he liked best of all that he had seen, he answered: ‘What else, father, but those demons who seduce men? Nothing else set my soul on fire the way they did!’ So don’t think there is any other way than this to outwit your son!”

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